Tag Archives: Recovery

Checking In 9/27/2021 after a 0.8 Mile Weekend

I took what was basically a complete rest weekend, and though it ultimately was a good idea it happened somewhat by accident.

Saturday I meant to be a full rest day, and while I did sneak to the gym and ride the spin bike for an hour while reading I did take it easy.

However, Sunday I had intended a full workout day, quality time on the treadmill and then some extra cross training. It was possibly a dubious idea because I planned to train hard Monday (today) and Tuesday, plus I felt like I needed more rest going in.

In a stroke of reverse-luck, I got to the gym around noon and realized I wasn’t wearing my Garmin watch! I had taken it off to charge and forgotten to put it back on. That rarely ever happens… in fact, I don’t think that’s happened before in Vegas.

I did go a couple minutes on the treadmill, tested some faster running which felt fine, then improvised a light strength workout that incorporated some exercises and weights I knew were hard to track on Garmin. I considered this sort-of-session a chance to work easy on some stuff I wouldn’t have generally done, plus I didn’t worry at all about the length of breaks (which I usually do when the clock’s ticking on a 20 minute workout). The light and easy workout left me feeling a bit energized, and I went home after that and relaxed for the day.

I realized in hindsight that I probably needed an easy weekend like that, after weeks and weeks of long workouts, traveling, and cramming that kind of effort into what should be a period of rest. I do feel a bit lax this morning, but in the taper sense of having had a bout of inactivity more than that I’m too tired.

Incidentally I set myself up well for some tougher workouts this week, today and tomorrow and then Thursday. Had I gone hard today, I would have had to be careful with intensity today, maybe tomorrow as well.

Now I’m thinking of finally venturing outside after work and going for some easy intervals at the park. It’ll still be hot, but not like during the summer, and worst case scenario I just need to slow down and run easy in the heat. But going 7 miles today between work break runs and easy intervals after work sounds like a good idea.

I also ate a bunch of ice cream this weekend for the first time in a long while, so maybe I should burn that off.

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Checking In 9/24/2021

After quite a bit of productive running and cross training through Wednesday, I made sure not to run Thursday and won’t run today either.

No, I’m fine. No pain, no injuries, and sure I’m a bit tired from short sleep. The real issue is that Vegas is getting more wildfire smoke, this time from the Sequoias, and the haze is supposed to stick around through today. It’s probably best not to go outside and breathe that in while running. Walking, probably okay, but not running.

I took it easy in the gym last night because of the short sleep, only going about 20 minutes and going out to eat instead. Today I’ll probably go longer in the gym, more like my usual workload, with a scheduled rest day tomorrow. Since I plan to run a 10K trial on Sunday, I’m making a point to take it easy Saturday. I might go ride the spin bike easy tomorrow afternoon if I’m bored or antsy.

My birthday is next month on a Saturday, and coincides perfectly with the end of peak training for Indy. I weighed this for a little while and have decided to take a long weekend trip to Vancouver on that weekend. Everything is booked, flight, hotel. I’d fly in midday that Friday, have two full days there, and fly out midday that Monday.

Stanley Park in Vancouver BC

Canada has re-opened to US visitors that are vaccinated for Covid (and yes: I’m vaccinated). I haven’t been to Vancouver, one of my favorite cities in the world, in over two years. And I didn’t want to wait until next May for a Vancouver Marathon that we’re still not totally sure is going to happen, nor until 2023.

This is a good time to go as well. The city won’t be crazy busy since summer is over. With Canada still partially restricted to visitors, it’s not going to be as busy and crowded. It’s also cool but not yet cold enough for BC snow, so misty rain is probably the only adverse weather I might see that weekend.

Also, relevant to my training, Vancouver’s marine climate provides a lot of humidity, which makes a long run there great training stimulus for Indy since Indy will likely be cool and humid on race day.

I’ve wanted to do a long run on the Vancouver Seawall, around Stanley Park and all the way around False Creek to Granville Island. One way it’s about 11-12 miles, and if inclined I could turn around and double back to make it longer. I’ve ridden this route on a rental bike before, but I want to run it.

Since I’ve only gone to run the Vancouver Marathon, doing a long Seawall run like this for fun right before or after the marathon was highly impractical. The only way I was ever going to do it (aside from the highly unlikely scenario of moving there) is if I made a separate trip with no racing plans. While that’s not the reason I’m making this trip, it’s certainly a contributing factor. And it helps it’s the end of my peak week, where I need to take my longest run and have a use for it.

Now, there are obvious caveats to this trip. You have to pass Covid testing within 72 hours of any travel into or out of Canada regardless of vax status (though with vax no quarantine is required). If either test comes back positive then there’s a problem. And of course, a sudden development in the Corona situation for either the US or Canada prior to the trip could nix any travel there.

I’ve paid for and insured the trip, so I’m not worried about the cost. If a bad test before the trip derails it, I just stay home and do something different. The only significant worry is if I test [+] IN Canada, and now I’m stuck in Canada and can’t fly back. (The insurance apparently covers lodging and per diem if I have to stay in Canada for that, though my situation at work would be the biggest issue)

Still, I’m in good health, have been vaccinated, and the dim possibility of a [+] test trapping me in Canada for at least a couple weeks (which probably would likely be more of a funny story than a bad experience) is a risk I’m willing to take for a trip that’s probably been a long time coming.

There are other things I want to do while I’m there. Vancouver’s sushi choices are excellent, and I will probably eat a lot of sushi. I haven’t been to a BC Lions CFL game in forever, and they are playing that weekend so I may go. And as mentioned, it’s been a while since I’ve been there for a reason other than running the Marathon, so it’ll be great to relax without having to plan around that.

More to come as it gets closer, but I’m looking forward to the trip.

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Checking In 9/21/2021

Yesterday I went on runs on all my work breaks. They were more like easy jogs, sure. But even with residual soreness from Saturday they all felt fine… other than feeling heavy and slow all the way on all three of them. But I’ll gladly take that over injuries slowing me down. I also rode the spin bike easy last night at the gym without any trouble.

Today like yesterday is a soft day off, probably more so than yesterday’s. I’ll do work break runs if they feel right, but this time no workout tonight. I have errands to attend to tonight and hopefully things will settle down tomorrow and beyond for at least a few days.

I think I need to take one more weekend long run trip, not next week but in early October. Vegas will cool down but only to the mid/high 60’s Fahrenheit, with highs still in the low/mid 90’s. While I’d like to make one more trip to Flagstaff, it might be ideal to go back to Big Bear as the latter is a better location for my longer runs (Flag might require creative routing or some remote routes, the latter not ideal if the long run goes south and I need to stop).

After that, Vegas should cool off enough that any other needed long running can take place here. And the feasibility of Indy will be a lot clearer by then as well. At this point I’m not concerned about injury but whether or not I can capable train to handle the distance before November. Saturday’s 13+ miler was a big step, but I have to get to at least 16 without being wrecked for me to believe I can handle Indy in November.

Still cooking up plans for beyond November, and more on that once I get past Indy. For now, I obviously need to focus on the present goal.

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Checking In 9/19/2021 from Big Bear Lake

May be an image of indoor

Hello from Big Bear Lake. I’ll be driving back to Vegas in a bit and I have some errands to get done, though I feel good enough to cross train in the afternoon once I return.

Incidentally, this is the first trip I’ve taken to Big Bear where I was actually able to stay overnight in Big Bear. Previously I stayed in Barstow and drove up/down each day (and recall that on my last trip I had booked lodging in Big Bear only for the place to screw up the reservation leading me to go back to Barstow anyway). With the summer season ended, lodging was easier to come by this time and I had a nice couple nights at a rustic hotel that’s usually packed and charging $150+ a night.

This also means I got to sleep at altitude (Barstow’s closer to sea level than Vegas at about 2100′) during this Big Bear trip, and my Garmin oximeter showed a difference. Like with Flagstaff, I averaged 88% oxygen overnight each night I’ve been here, even though I slept well and (while slow to get up) felt fairly good in the morning each time.

My legs are decidedly sore this morning. While they can handle an elliptical session this afternoon (I certainly need the low-impact circulation), they can certainly use Monday’s rest day.

Even having spent all summer in the desert, the 40’F outdoor temperature each morning also felt rather good, and I wasn’t wearing long sleeves at all (plus obviously I had on shorts for Saturday’s long run). I actually miss the visceral cold of Chicago and Seattle winters. But that could just be an entire summer of 110 degree days talking.

After Monday, I’ll see what I can do about getting back to morning runs. Logistics make these more complicated than they were in the past, but I usually have enough time that they can be do-able now that Vegas morning temperatures have dropped back to the 70’s and below. We’re still a way from post-work runs being do-able again, but easy intervals in the morning would be a big step forward.

In either case, knowing the hamstring issue emerged two days after a long run, I’m going to take it easy for at least the couple days after this one, and see from there.

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Checking In 9/15/2021

My energy levels are like a phugoid cycle this week. Yesterday despite good sleep I was exhausted. I took it easy on work breaks and didn’t train yesterday (though I couldn’t anyway due to stuff I needed to get done after work).

I slept well again, and today now I once again feel pretty good, just like Monday. This could be subliminal communication from my body telling me to go hard/easy on my weekly training right now. Or maybe it was the end result of back to back tough training days, during another hot weekend, while also having a lot of other business to attend to.

In any case, I’m going train today like I did on that hard Monday. Tomorrow is a scheduled day off from training, plus Friday is a travel day with no training before Saturday’s long workout. The rest of this week should be a little easier outside of training, so it’s not as big a deal if I wake up exhausted tomorrow morning.

Today I woke up with no pain at all, compared to the last few days where I was pain-free at work but did wake up with a bit of pain. I finally feel normal again after (and yes I keep specific track of this) 51 days of dealing with the hamstring issue. Never at any point was it as bad as when I strained it in 2019. For the most part, I could run, but it was a lingering pain that at times increased as I ran, and at times would go away if I ran a certain way.

If anything, it forced me to re-balance my running technique, to utilize my other lower body muscles in a balanced fashion, and it compelled me to stretch more (dynamically and statically) before and after workouts, sometimes even during. I definitely notice and feel my gluteus medius more engaged in runs than before. While not dominant, my quads are more engaged and I don’t feel my energy bottling up and landing in my hip joint during steps as it did before (which is probably a contributing factor to the hamstring problem). Forefoot running feels a lot more comfortable now.

It made me better emphasize recovery between workouts and on rest days, making sure to eat recovery-friendly foods, take key foods and vitamin supplements more consistently. I’m eating more fruit than before, cleaner protein more often, once again taking wild fish oil, making sure to get enough water every day (this was always a come-and-go habit), avoiding any processed sugar as much as possible. All of this helps reduce inflammation and I’m sure that’s helped with progress and recovery.

I also made sure to find training modes that didn’t hurt or aggravate my hamstring or groin, and made sure to hit them however hard I could, consistently circulating blood through the affected areas and driving recovery and growth however much I could, not to mention making to aerobically train and progress as much as I could and stay however fit I could.

Every issue and setback can be a blessing in disguise when it forces you to be more disciplined.

While I lost the chance to progress on my marathon training, and once again in a marathon training cycle ended up for circumstantial reasons with a big barren gap of light intensity and volume between blocks of high volume… what I ended up doing in the interim was probably best for me in the long run, regardless of how it benefitted training for Indy.

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Checking In 9/14/2021

As energetic as I felt Monday, I am rather tired today.

I slept fine. I actually slept fairly well. I probably shouldn’t have had tacos for dinner, but I felt like it so I did. If that alone is the cause of my energy tank I’m absolutely impressed at the anti-healing properties of beef tacos.

But it’s more likely the 3600 calories Garmin says I burned yesterday was the prime cause of the sagging energy levels today, if not also the 3300 calories I reportedly burned Sunday from my long workout.

Yesterday I was completely pain free at work! I could run normally. I went ahead and took runs on all my work breaks, and they went fine! I was thrilled. That sounds like a milestone and it felt like one, but admittedly I’m glossing over it here. I feel good today (did feel a bit sore first thing this morning but that’s once again gone), and am hoping to keep that going.

Of course, then last night I also went a full hour on the elliptical, and though I kept it short I also nightcapped a session on the rowing machine (it’s probably a good thing I did cut it short!).

Between all that, and work and commuting, I can see how I’m tired out. My dad and I also have to transport my trailer today off-site so he can have the main driveway paved, so that required a bunch of prep and cleanup.

Maybe I shouldn’t have trained the last couple days? No, if anything, knowing I won’t train today (I’m just walking out work breaks), knowing I’m taking Thursday off from training, and won’t be able to train Friday as I’ll be traveling after work that evening… it’s better off I run myself ragged now, knowing I’ve got the next few days easy.

I also am approaching the wall for Indy training, less than 8 weeks from the actual race. You can’t really prep anyone in the last couple weeks beforehand, so I basically have the next 5-6 weeks to train however much I can handle. I cross trained as best I could with the prox-ham issue over the last 7 weeks but I lost all that time.

I think at this point that if I can consistently knock out long workouts, on my feet or cross training, can starting hitting mid-length easy interval workouts plus some long runs… I think I’ll be okay for Indy. Any notions of a serious time goal are about out the window. Whatever time goal I end up with will be a function of how fit I can get myself before late October (which by the way is next month).

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Checking In 9/11/2021

Good morning! Rest day today.

I got a flu shot yesterday, and probably not a bad idea in general to get one if you can, because reportedly this flu season (Corona aside) is apparently going to be a bad one.

As I’ve mentioned before, I get flu shots before the winter most years, especially if I plan on doing a lot during the winter. I don’t want to have a training cycle or other big plans derailed by a winter flu. The shot doesn’t always work, sure: I got the flu anyway during Vancouver 2019 training, because a strain that year’s shot didn’t cover ended up going around. But most of the time, I get the shot in September/October and I avoid trouble during the winter.

Last night at the gym I knocked out my most productive elliptical workout in a while, hitting aerobic zone 2 for much of the 45 minutes. Obviously, knowing I planned to rest Saturday made it easier to go harder this time around. I hit back to back to back 40-45 minute workouts for the first time in three weeks, and am hoping to keep the train going through the next two months.

Even though the prox-ham pain’s still lingering, I’d like on Sunday to finally attempt those easy intervals during the morning, then go a bit long in the afternoon on the elliptical. I’m not feeling pain when running in brief instances, and I want to finally extend my running and see how it responds.

For today I’m going to eat a lot of cantaloupe and protein, and relax. Naps sound great.

I guess I’d be remiss on the 20th anniversary not to mention or reflect on 9/11. I don’t have much to say about the attack and disaster itself, but I do have some personal stuff I can share.

At the time I was 22 and working the overnight shift in the casino cage at Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas. I was actually on the clock in the moments the whole thing went down (about 5-6am PDT). At first, what we found out was second hand info from our boss that a plane crashed into WTC, maybe it was terrorists. It was just another random bit of national news you get while working the casino floor.

Then, I walked into her office to drop off daily reports during her lunch break. The TV in her office was on, and at that moment they broke that another plane hit the Pentagon, and it became clear it was a much bigger deal. I remember after work walking into Roma Cafe, they had a TV on in the cafe showing the coverage, and the whole room was just crestfallen.

A couple weeks later I got laid off along with a bunch of other casino employees due to the obvious business slowdown. I can tell you a lot of people thought the whole thing was the end of the world, and yes the government-controlled media coverage had a lot to do with that. Obviously, it ultimately ended up not being anywhere close to the end of the world and life has since gone on.

It certainly steered me away from whatever life path I was on at the time, and it would be a while (months/years) before I took my life off pause and sought to do anything beyond go to work (I did go back to college, and soon after moved to Seattle, where a lot happened in the 10 years following). Part of me then regretted letting the whole thing bring my life to a halt, but looking back I realize at the time I wasn’t doing a whole hell of a lot anyway. My life was in a limbo after leaving school in 1999 and a brief but futile move to Texas, and I definitely wasn’t enjoying life on the graveyard shift (which generally isn’t the healthiest lifestyle).

Putting aside the obvious tragedy and loss of life for a moment… had none of it happened, I don’t think my life would have headed anywhere better without an unexpected catalyst. Maybe I saved my money, but honestly beyond moving to a nicer Vegas apartment I’m not sure what I would have been compelled to do otherwise. This tragic national event basically ended up being the first of several catalysts for me. My life obviously didn’t get better in the short run (which is obviously still better than it ENDING, as it did for thousands that day), but it ended up going better in the long run thanks to the driven decisions that followed.

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